I’m in the exact same position you are! One thing to be aware of is that it can vary significantly by parish/priest. So, we are in a more liberal parish, but the process has been really easy! We made our initial meeting with the priest last August, where he gave us the overview of the process and the book about our particular church’s restrictions, like no photography except for the pro, stuff about flowers and music and tossing things. These all vary by parish.
In October, they had a special blessing for all the engaged couples in the 9am mass (this seems to be something that doesn’t normally happen. Afterwards we all took the FOCCUS survey, which looks at compatability. We were also matched with a sponsor couple with the Parish.
In March we met with our sponsor couple twice to go over the FOCCUS survey. We talked about any question where we answered differently or "non-optimally" in the eyes of the Catholic Church. This part was fun, it was nice to talk to a different couple. John and I didn’t have a lot to talk about though, since we’d already talked about a lot of it.
Then, a few weeks ago we had our last meeting with the priest. He gave us the Together for Life book that helps you plan your ceremony, which you can have with or without the liturgy of the Eucharist (communion). It has different choices for readings, blessings, prayers, vows, etc. (You can’t write your own vows, but you can do a special prayer of the couple, if you want) So you just read through it and pick what you want, then fill out the tear out sheet in tha back, and in our case, bring it to the rehearsal. You can usually pick different readings, but then you have to get them approved by the priest. I wanted specific readings, so I brought them to the meeting, and they were OK’d no problem. If you want to go this route, I suggest the Indie Bride forums – they had some good less churchy/non-submissive readings – though the ones in the book aren’t too bad. John also had to bring in his baptism, 1st communion, and confirmation certificates (as would I, if I would have had them). He asked us a series of questions sepereately to make sure there were no barriers to us marrying. Then John had to sign the paper to get the dispensation to marry a non-catholic. He had to promise to do his best to raise our kids Catholc – note that he doesn’t have to promise to do it, just do his best. That’s because the church recognizes your responsibility to do your best to raise the kids in your own faith tradition.
Next up is planning the music – nothing secular, nor the wedding march. Then we get married next month!
Um, as for random other things to keep in mind, you may have to kneel for the whole ceremony – we do, which is great because that normally maes me light-headed. You might want to have a detailed program to help with all the stand up, sit down, say stuff elements of Catholic mass. Your priest should be able to help you with it, and he may or may not want to approve the program.
Sorry this is SUPER long, but hopefully it’s helpful! Your process will probably be somewhat different, but this may give you some idea of what to expec.